This week, a New Jersey councilperson was tragically shot and murdered, marking the state’s second fatal gun violence incident involving a municipal elected figure in the previous seven days.
Russell Heller, 51, was a Milford Township council member who was shot and killed in the parking lot of the PSE&G Central Division headquarters building in Somerset, where he had worked for 11 years as a supervisor.
2 GOP politicians in New Jersey were assassinated in one week— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) February 9, 2023
If they were Dems, there would be 24/7 coverage of the story
Officers were dispatched to the site following a 911 call, according to the Franklin Township Police Department. Heller was found with a fatal gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. The event is being investigated by police, but no arrests have been made.
The shooter has been identified as Gary Curtis, a 58-year-old former PSE&G employee who was discovered dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound some hours after the incident. His body was recovered in a nearby township’s parking lot. The authorities are still investigating the shooting to discover the actual circumstances.
Early this morning, a deadly shooting took place outside of a PSE&G facility in Franklin Township.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) February 8, 2023
Our thoughts and prayers are with Russell Heller's family and friends in the wake of this tragic act of gun violence. https://t.co/KITkU4G4aS
The Franklin Township police department said in their release: “The investigation remains ongoing to determine the motive. The preliminary investigation has revealed that the shooting was an isolated incident and Mr. Heller was the intended target.”
Russell Heller’s death occurred one week after Eunice Dwumfour, a Sayreville borough councilwoman, was shot and killed while sitting in a car parked outside her home. Dwumfour was 30 years old and the township’s first Black elected official. A memorial service was held in her honor this week, and no arrests have been made in connection with her death.
On social media, New Jersey’s political leaders voiced their regret and concern about the recent shootings of local elected officials. In a tweet, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Russell Heller’s family and friends in the aftermath of this horrible act of gun murder.” In a post shared on Twitter, New Jersey Representative Tom Kean expressed his regret and condolences, and complimented Heller for his community service.
I am shocked and saddened by the tragic murder of Milford Councilman Russell Heller. Russell was an outstanding public servant who proudly represented the river town he loved. My prayers are with his family and the Milford community.— Congressman Tom Kean (@CongressmanKean) February 8, 2023